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Pintard says he has what it takes to lead FNM

Days ahead of the Free National Movement’s (FNM) convention, Marco City MP Michael Pintard said yesterday he believes he has the traits the party needs in its leader.

He is running against Central Grand Bahama MP Iram Lewis and East Grand Bahama MP Kwasi Thompson for the position. 

Pintard said he has done an assessment of himself and his skill set.

“I’ve done that and I’m satisfied that I’m a collaborative and inclusive leader and that is a prerequisite for leading a diverse group of persons, particularly the FNM,” he said.

“You have to have excellent communication skills. And that doesn’t just include the ability to communicate a message… it also means that you have to create a network through which you can communicate to multiple audiences to reflect their dreams and aspirations, not yours, not just the organization you are a part of.”

Pintard added, “… And then you have to be committed to the team, including the best talent available in the organization, not just those that agree with you, but dissenting voices, persons who span different administrations in the FNM, a willingness to engage across the political divide to give constructive criticism of what is being proposed legislatively in terms of policy or programs and to communicate with the private sector, because it is them that make it rain, that creates tremendous opportunity in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.” 

The FNM, which won 35 of the 39 seats in Parliament in the 2017 election, suffered a crushing defeat at the polls in September 16, winning just seven seats.

While former Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis won his Killarney seat and said that he planned on staying on as party leader, many viewed the results as an indictment of his leadership.

After weeks of speculation, Minnis said last month that he will not be offering himself for leader.

Pintard, who was the minister of agriculture and marine resources, said that he saw that there was a possibility that the FNM would lose the election, and attributed the loss in part to bad messaging. 

“We were clear, those of us who worked in Marco City, and some of the other members of the team that we spoke to that we were having some challenges on the ground,” he said.

“… I’m a cultural expert and so clearly I understand when young people say to you that certain things are not making sense to them that you ought to pay close attention and figure out how you can pivot on those issues …

“I also thought that many of the wonderful things we did, we did not do a good job messaging it and communicating it to our team members and the general public. And so, we were having challenges with that particular battle. So we sensed that a loss was possible.

“The extent of the loss and some of the areas that it occurred, certainly, no, I certainly did not see that.”

Pintard also said it’s important to focus on rebuilding and strengthening the party’s associations across the country.

He said there must be a return to the party’s core values. 

“You need functioning party machinery and association, populated by people who have a commitment to improving Bahamian lives.

“The act of doing that work brings people closer together around common issues that affect their shared future.

“The other thing that is critical is to ensure that people unite around the core issues that affect us collectively and to embrace the core values that have sustained this organization for the last 50 years.”

He said he has been consulting with delegates and members of the public to determine the best way forward.

“We are confident,” he said.

“We have put in a tremendous amount of work reaching out to delegates, doing what we have always been doing and that is speaking to the general public as well about the issues that concern us and the way forward, things we believe that must happen if we are going to transform our country.

“And, of course, delegates pay attention to what is happening nationally and it’s important that they know that they are electing a leader that understands the national and the local issue and is equipped to address those issues to improve the quality of their lives.”

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Rachel Scott

Rachel joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2019. Rachel covers national issues. Education: University of Virginia in Charlottesville, BA in Foreign Affairs and Spanish

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